Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper - Migrating out of Poverty
Title Internal Remittances and Poverty: Further Evidence from Africa and Asia
Volume 12
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/pdf/outputs/MigratingOutOfPov/WP12-migratingpov.pdf
Despite the fact that the number of internal migrants globally is at least 740 million, nearly
four times the number of international migrants, there is hardly any discussion on internal
remittances and their potential to reduce poverty. Families that 'send' internal migrants are,
on average, poorer than those of international migrants, and the receipt of remittances,
even if smaller in amount than international remittances, has the potential to improve
standards of living and overall wellbeing with possible multiplier effects for origin areas.
Building on earlier work on Ghana and India, this paper examines secondary data from
household surveys for six countries in Africa and Asia (Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa,
Uganda, Bangladesh and Vietnam), to show the significance of internal remittances as well
as the characteristics of receiving areas and households. The paper shows that internal
migrants outnumber international migrants in most of the countries under study and that
internal remittances flow to a larger number of receiving households, mainly in poor rural
areas. An examination of the patterns of internal migration and the drivers for migration
shows that most migrants originate from poorer regions and go to richer regions. Although
it is not possible to establish causality or address endogeneity on the basis of these data and
computations alone, the mapping and assessment of internal remittances provides a useful
picture of the significance of these monetary flows in poor countries and challenges the
notion that internal remittances need not be considered in development planning. While
we do not claim to establish that these remittances are reducing poverty, they are received
in significant magnitudes by poor households, and complementary evidence shows that
migration is usually undertaken to improve living standards and overall wellbeing.

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